maple in a pot and the rainy season??

levsanJune 18, 2011

hi everyone,

this is my first post, and have been browsing this forum the last few weeks as we just just purchased and moved in to our own apartment, in the hopes that I learn a thing or two about potted plants (admittedly new to the whole concept).

we recently bought a japanese maple -aka shidare momiji, which I assume it is called inaba shidare in the US. its been 3 weeks since I have repotted - twice!! which I now know I shouldn't have in summer (first repot had to be changed because of wrong advice on the soil so it was an emergency) and luckily the tree is now budding and looks healthy.

However, the last few days we have had a lot of rain at nights, and since we are in rainy season we will be getting more. I have noticed every morning a dozen or so small tiny mushrooms growing in the pot, and then dying during the day from the sun. I guess its a good indication for the quality of the soil, but just wondering if it might also bee too wet and damaging for the maple. the soil I am using now is a mixture recommended by the nursery and I would say it drains fairly well. and using terra-cotta I had to usually water every 2-3 days on hot sunny days. our balcony does see south sun, but up until these last few days I kept it under shade and cover to avoid any transplant shock. since I moved it out of cover and into the sun, it gets rained on.

should I be worried about rainy season when using pots?

I will try to attach some photos so you can see the maple and the mushroom. also, can anyone tell me by its height how old this maple might be?

the tree is about a meter high and the pot is 46cm in diameter and 38 cm tall if the dimension help..

here are some photos posted on the web (i hope this works..not sure how to post pics here..)


Here is a link that might be useful: photos of the momiji tree

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see if the photos work now..

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:44PM
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Actually your first link worked for me.....the second did not :-)

As long as you are using a freely draining, durable potting medium, I would not be concerned about rainfall. My containerized maples spend the winters outdoors (our rainy season) exposed to the elements without issue. I'd also suspect that the mushrooms you are seeing are also a factor of the potting medium -- composted bark or other organic matter will tend to continue to decompose and that can generate the appearance of mushrooms or the fruiting bodies of some sort of fungal organism.

The photos are not close up enough for me to see the tree all that clearly. If it is 'Inaba Shidare', this is a relatively low growing, mushroom shaped plant, maybe 8-10' at maturity. Ultimate size will depend on where the graft is located and how the plant is trained -- a higher graft and training/staking the plant to grow upward rather than assuming an early weeping or cascading form can result in a taller specimen ultimately. Can't tell you the age either, but apparent trunk diameter would indicate it is still quite young....likely no more than a couple of years after graft.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 12:05PM
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thanks for the reply gardengal48,

yeah I stuffed up the photos on my second post..still trying to figure how to post the photos rather than the link.

I'm glad to hear the that rain should not cause any problems. I'm pretty happy with the soil mix, as I mixed compost bark and other organic matter, potting soil and akadama (

from what I gather looking at other maple pictures, it does look like inaba shidare, though on the tag simply says aka (red) shidare momiji.
the graft is low on the tree, and since it will stay potted, I am hoping it does not grow too tall and wide. I will prune to keep in shape every winter and train it a little.

as I mentioned in my earlier post, considering the mistake of 2 time repotting within 2 weeks , it is doing quite well with new leaf's budding out.

the balcony see's southern sun from early morning until around 3 so I have ordered a large parasol, which should give it shade from noon onwards. luckily the weather will be cloudy for the next few days so hopefully it should arrive before any harsh sunny days. when I first received it I had it under sun for a couple of days and it did change color quite fast, but also the new tender leaves got a little dry and scrunchy. I am hoping after this summer the tree will adjust to the location and the sun better.

quite new to raising JM, though living in Japan I am surrounded by them everywhere in our neighborhood and quite enjoy momijigari. already planning my next momiji, hopefully I can find a Acer shirasawanum Aureum's going to be a bit though to squeeze in another maple in our balcony but I'm hopeful..!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Hi, I agree with gardengal that rain shouldn't be a problem for a container maple with a free draining potting mix, and your mix looks pretty free draining. Also these plants are better adapted to dealing with rainy weather in summer (like in Japan) than rainy weather in winter and early spring (like in PNW), but, as said already, as long as it drains well all is good.

I like to use terracotta pots too, they help the roots to breathe when compared to glazed or plastic pots.

I believe there is a cultivar 'Aka shidare' that is not the same as 'Inaba shidare'. Here is a link to the page for this cultivar at a Japanese website: The same website lists Inaba shidare on another page and the images are different.

The latest (4th) edition of the Vertrees/Gregory Japanese Maples book says 'Aka shidare' is another name for 'Tamuke yama', but in 'Book for Maples' Yano states otherwise: 'Although 4 forms, 'Tamuke yama', 'Aka shidare', 'Beni shidare' and 'Beni hagoromo' are regarded as the same cultivar, but they are not quite the same. However, at present they are easily confused among them by the growers.'

[I don't think the link is working 100% correctly according to my preview; it should go direct to the 'Aka shidare' page but it does not. Instead click on the 4th maple leaf in the first row (a red dissectum) and you will reach the page I intended.]

Hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aka shidare

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Hi Mafle,

thank you for the link. Now I am thinking this is indeed aka shidare momiji, like the tag said when I bought the tree. I couldn't find any reference so I just assumed it was translated into English as inaba shidare. :)

I have posted close up pictures on of the leaves, so if anyone else has any opinion feel free to chime in. the tree has been in the shade since I bought it 4 weeks ago, except for one week, where some of the new leaves have turned red in color which you can see in the photos.

one thing I am confused about is that the picture on the site you gave me shows autumn leave as orange-brown in drawing yet the picture of autumn color example is more like a crimson red, though not as crimson as inabe shidare.
I've also found another site saying the fall color to be brownish orange, here below

as for the rainy season, I think you are right about it being better adapted to rain in summer, as I have been noticing stronger growth the last week, though not sure if that is because the growth was effected by repotting for short period of time. I think the tree is looking healthy and as long as I can avoid strong sun by giving it some shade, it should be able to withstand the hot summer here. fingers crossed.

again thanks for your help and if you have any comments on the new photos, I'll be glad to hear it. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: my aka shidare momiji

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:09AM
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